Last week I left the Ivory Coast (snif snif) to come and work at the salesian mission in Cotonou, Benin.
Benin is not a very famous country, but in international news, no news is good news. It is a small country between Togo and Nigeria, same West Africa neighbourhood. It’s political capital is Porto Novo, but its economical capital, biggest city and international port is Cotonou.
This country is full of history. It is the birthplace of Voodoo and main port of slave exportation to America in the 1800s. Cotonou (Kùtɔ́nû in Fon) actually means “mouth of the river of the death” in remembrance of all the slaves that were brought here down the Oueme River to be sold and board the ships to America for never coming back.
– Benin Population: 9.6 million
– Currency: CFA (West African Franc – same as Mali, Nigeria, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, Burkina Faso)
– Official language: French. Local languages and ethnicities include Fon, Yoruba, Adja.
– Local beer: La béninoise
– Time zone: UTC +1 (5 hours ahead of Toronto, 6 hours ahead of Mexico City, 8 hours behind Tokyo
– Cotonou is home to West Africa’s biggest market: Dantokpa marche
– The city is between 1.2 – 1.5 million people
– Cotonou has become a crossroads of West African commerce, with much trade moving here from Abidjan because of the Ivorian Civil War. It also serves as an avenue to distribute imported goods to the landlocked countries of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali.
I guess as for today the blog also changes names from Frances Limon: The Ivory Coast – to – Frances Limon: West Africa… gotta adapt to change 🙂